Everything feels odd right now, right on the cusp of Christmas. There's a lot of stress in the air, especially by the British Library, which is right next to the main international train station. There's a queue wrapped around the block, people waiting to get on a train to get home for Christmas. There's also people stressing over the holiday in general. People trying to get to parties, trying to buy gifts, trying to stay happy. There isn't really a lighthearted Christmas cheer in the air, but there is a quiet perseverance, a stubborn resolve to stay cheerful for the holidays. That's admirable, really. Maybe that's what the true meaning if Christmas is: a stubborn resolve to make it through to the New Year.
It's an amazingly difficult time of year. The weather is at its worst right when most people want to travel. Everyone is sick (including me. I've had this stupid annoying cough since Saturday). No one has any money, and yet we're all expected to buy gifts for the people we love. People who are alone feel especially lonely. And yet we're supposed to try our very hardest to stay Christmassy. In an article for the Observer, David Mitchell, one of my favorite comedy actors/writers, comments on this issue I think rather astutely: